ITALIAN SURNAMES: an untapped fantasy resource.
I am reading Michael R. Fletcher‘s Grimdark novel Beyond Redemption which converts German words into names because they sound dark and grim to English speakers.
Italian – usually thought rightly as a beautiful language – is my second language. If you know what they mean, many Italian surnames are really very grim and dark.
Mezzasalma – Half Corpse
Malacarne – Evil Meat
Boccadifuoco – Firemouth
Mangiacapre – Goateater
Pelagatti – Catskinner
After the end of the Western Roman Empire, Italy was occupied/trashed by various grim/metal gangs – Goths, Vandals, Longobards, Franks – and various surnames probably still show that.
PS: the statue below of a horse with skulls that I took in Italy a few weeks is fairly grim as well!
Many other Italian surnames have meanings that are perfect for fantasy characters of various types. Try these:
Quarto di Palo – Quarterstaff (fighting monk)
Gambarotta – Broken Leg (wounded soldier)
Pezzopane – Piece of Bread (jester)…
Barbafiera – Proudbeard (king)
Spadavecchia – Old Sword (veteran warrior)
Cottafavi – Beancooker (you’ve got the idea by now!)
Malcotti – Badly Cooked
Fossacieca – Blind Trench
Tagliabue – Oxcutter
Saltaformaggio – Cheesejumper
I have pages of these that I have collected over the years!